To: Inyo County Board of Supervisors
From: Mo Monroe, Asst. Cook, Lone Pine Senior Center
The rumor mill continues to churn out tidbits…here’s the latest I have heard. The Board of Supes has pretty much decided to “continue” the meals-on-wheels program with only “minor” changes. They prefer to provide one hot meal per week to clients, instead of four, with the remaining four meals each week being frozen meals cooked and packaged locally by the Bishop and Lone Pine kitchens. The meals at the Senior Centers will still be provided five days per week, with one day per week no longer being voluntary donation, rather, a mandatory fee for that meal. Sounds a bit drastic to me, and here’s what I suggest in lieu of those options, realizing that the deficit of the County General Fund may not be reduced as greatly as desired by the Board in the immediate future.
- Provide five meals per week instead of the seven meals currently offered. Including both the Bishop and Lone Pine meals-on-wheels routes, this is a significant reduction
- Deliver three hot meals per week to meals-on-wheels recipients, with recipients receiving two frozen meals for the the other two days per week when deliveries aren’t being made. This will immediately reduce costs in food packaging supplies, as the fresh fruit and juices that accompany these meals come pre-packaged.
- Continue Senior Center congregate meals as they currently are, voluntary donation only. These groups of people getting together socially are extremely special and should be preserved as sacrocanct!
- Implement County-wide bulk purchasing of foodstuffs and supplies for all county operations that supply food (and packaging thereof) to county residents (including inmates).
Speaking of gradual implementation in little-tiny-baby-steps, as I have before, why not let the ESAAA kitchens provide one meal per day to the County Jail? We are up to the task. This could be delivered hot, cold, or frozen, and consumed immediately or stored at the jail until required…
I believe that with the reduced number of meals being provided, the reduced hours of labor being paid for (less driving days), and the reduction in food and supply costs, the savings to the County General Fund will surprise you! Euphemisms like “Service Redesign” should actually include some design work, and not just be another way of saying cutting services!
I respectfully ask you, Board of Supervisors, should our county inmates at the County Jail be entitled to three “hot” meals per day while our most vulnerable, venerable Senior Citizens are only entitled to one hot meal per week? Realllly???